DALLAS — Tuesday’s upset in Dallas was big for the Raptors for many reasons.
It’s a game they can look back on when their confidence starts to sag and realize they can be a very capable team with a concerted effort regardless of who is in the game.
It also came at a time when the team had to be wondering if and when they would ever get healthy.
For those reasons and plenty more it came at exactly the right time.
Individually though, it’s unlikely any one player will take as much from this one game as rookie power forward Ed Davis.
This was the statement game of Davis’ young career thus far.
His team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds, not to mention a trio of steals and blocks, in 31 minutes said loud and clear that Davis can have an impact right now, rookie or not.
Sure, Davis has had games where he has shown an impressive ability and enough aggression to pull down rebounds in numbers. On more than a few occasions he has shown his ability to block and alter shots. The difference Tuesday night in Dallas was he was doing all that and scoring. He was the complete package.
Davis even stepped out of form and attempted a few mid-range jump shots, something the coaches have been encouraging him to do. He sank his first one from 13 feet but the majority of his scoring still came from within a four-foot area of the basket.
“It’s just gaining confidence,” Davis said. “I know I can hit that mid-range jumper but having the confidence to take it was not there.”
It’s probably still not all the way there yet, but it’s certainly better than it was.
“When you’re playing well and the team is playing well everything comes easy,” Davis said.
Davis was one of the Raptors three bigs head coach Jay Triano singled out for the job they did, particularly at the defensive end of the floor where the Mavericks were repelled time and again trying to get to the basket and eventually settled for a lot of unsuccessful long-range jumpers.
“(Davis’) best game for sure,” Triano said. “I thought his first half was just outstanding. It was just a matter of time when we were going to get him in the second half. Monday, Memphis scored four straight times to start the second half on us and we talked in the locker room at the half saying we had played well but we had to get stops. Joey (Dorsey) did a great job so I had to run with those guys. Even though Ed had a great game I had a hard time getting him back in, but sure enough he played the rest of the way (the final 14 minutes) and I thought he was very solid.”
The hope now is Davis builds on a game like this.
“He’s a guy who looks like he has a low motor, but when he plays the game like this and changes shots and goes after rebounds, you know that he can do it,” Triano said. “With all rookies in the league, it’s a matter of doing it 82 times. He’s going to have to bounce back and have the same kind of performance against Houston. As soon as you rest on your laurels in this league, someone jumps up and bites you.”